Page 14 - May 2019 Thoroughbred Highlight
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Health & Wellness Highlight
Milk Thistle: Nature’s Detox Plant for Horses
With the winter blankets now being stored away, windows can now be opened to allow the spring breeze to  ow through the barn and green pastures will start being seen for miles under the warming
sun. Many riders look forward to the spring season
as the ideal time to ride, train and continue to work their horses into a conditioning program to make them more  t for the high demands of the performance stage. Therefore, changes to the horse’s daily regimen and feeding program will take effect going from the cool spring months to the hot summer days ahead. All these changes can have an effect on the temperament, moods and emotional reactions of the horse which can be detrimental to their performance, but more importantly to their overall health.
The savvy trainer and horse owner will consider the well-being of the whole horse when creating a  tness program and observing the horse’s health throughout the conditioning phase. By keeping an eye on attitude, appetite, weight and coat condition, one will determine whether they are suffering from the demands or thriving on them. The many equine sport disciplines in which our horses participate might vary, but one thing remains constant – they need to be healthy and  t to provide their very best performance. A horse’s  tness level and physiological state can be compromised greatly if the horse does not consume enough energy (calories), proteins, vitamins, minerals and salts. Therefore, your horse will depend on you to prepare
it and prevent illness or injury due to the seasonal stress, demands and consequences of being an equine athlete. We can attest to the fact that horses are sensitive animals and as their care givers, we always have to be alert and attentive to the hazards that surround them. However, toxicity seems to be a topic that is often underrated but can be seriously detrimental to our equine counterparts.
Our horses are exposed to toxins and chemicals and each toxin may have adverse effects ranging from mild to fatal, and are all dependent on circumstances such as what was consumed, how much was absorbed, the horse’s size and health status. Because horses don’t always know what is harmful for them, owners and caretakers must be keenly aware of such threats when managing horses. People assume that horses know what to eat and what not to eat, but this
not always the case. When toxins are present within the body, oxygen and the body’s food supply cannot get inside the cell to supply the needed nutrients, thus the cells’ waste products cannot get out. Essentially, toxins are stored in the body’s cells due to toxic overload and can compromise the horse’s body and interfere with normal biochemical pathways needed for healthy functions. We also need to consider the senior horses whose livers are not as ef cient as they once were, or horses on long term medication may bene t by having milk thistle concentrate, as this herb has been shown to accelerate liver cell regeneration by increasing RNA synthesis, and offers protection from the accumulation of toxins. Milk Thistle seed (Silybum marianum) has many bene ts, however, most trainers use it for its hepatic support through its antioxidant action and for its anti-allergy and anti- in ammatory properties.
Be sure to use products that have been deemed safe for horses by the Health Canada Veterinary Health Product (VHP) approval process to avoid unwanted side effects, and that have a balanced ingredient deck such as herbs and botanicals, nutraceuticals, phytonutrients, trace elements, vitamins and minerals, which have a history of use and ef cacy. Toxins such as chemical food additives and more may accumulate inside the body, thus requiring an herbal formulation to help cleanse from the inside out. The right combination of herbs and antioxidants will assist in the gentle removal of toxins from body tissues and organs. Subsequently, your horse will not only feel healthier but will look healthier as well.
by Lauren Marlborough, BSc. (Hons), ESC, CESMT and ETP.
Lauren Marlborough has been as avid horsewoman for over 20 years, with several years of experience
in a variety of roles in the equine trades. She earned a BSc. from Lakehead University, a post-graduate Honours Biological degree from Brock University, a certi cation as an Equine Sports Massage Therapist, and she obtained the Equine Science Certi cate
with a Distinction from the University of Guelph. Lauren operated her own equine therapy business in Southern Ontario.
Thoroughbred Highlight - Page 14 - May 2019

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